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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 24, 2005

Faculty Musicians From UI School Of Music Will Present Poulenc Sampler Nov. 1

The Iowa Woodwind Quintet and pianist Alan Huckleberry, musicians from the University of Iowa School of Music faculty, have joined together to present a sampler of chamber music by the 20th-century French composer Francis Poulenc at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Their faculty chamber concert will be free and open to the public.

The Iowa Woodwind Quintet has been in existence at the UI School of Music since the early 1930s. Its current members -- Tamara Thweatt, flute; Mark Weiger, oboe; Maurita Murphy Mead, clarinet; Kristin Thelander, horn; and Benjamin Coelho, bassoon -- are all members of the UI School of Music faculty.

Members of the quintet will join with Huckleberry in three different combinations to play works from the early, middle and late years of Poulenc's composing career:

-- Meade and Huckleberry will play the very late Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, composed in 1962, just a year before Poulenc's death;

-- Weiger, Coelho and Huckleberry will play the much earlier Trio for oboe, bassoon and piano; and

-- the full quintet and Huckleberry will end the concert with the Sextet for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn and piano, from the middle of Poulenc's career.

"This recital will feature three of Poulenc's most significant chamber works, which exemplify his mastery of the melody," Huckleberry said. "His first love being the song, Poulenc was naturally attracted to writing for wind instruments. And due to this love, we have some of the greatest chamber music of the 20th century for winds and piano.

"The trio forms the climax of the first group of his chamber works. It comes from the time when Poulenc was still actively involved in 'Les Six,' a group of composers who wanted to move away from German Romanticism and Impressionism to create a French style based in an amalgam of Stravinsky, Eric Satie and popular forms.

"Like so many of Poulenc's works, the trio combines delicious wit, pungency and ebullience with a nostalgic, poignant lyricism.

"The monumental sextet has become a staple in concert houses across the globe. This work is full of vibrancy, showcases all of the instruments equally and depicts the city of Paris in the 1930s, with all of its bustling, noise and glamour.

"The Clarinet Sonata, dedicated to the memory of Arthur Honegger, a fellow Les Six member, follows the early chamber works in their three-movement, fast-slow-fast patterns, with a moderate first movement of almost religious serenity, a hauntingly beautiful middle one in a contrasting key, and a riotsly animated finale provides a great contrast: Poulenc at his best!"

Thweatt came to the UI in 2003. She was a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 2000-2002 and has also performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and many regional ensembles. She has studied the Baroque flute and has performed the solo flute part in Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 with the Michigan Chamber Players. She also enjoys chamber music of all styles and periods, and has performed George Crumb's "Vox Balaenae" (The voice of the whale) at Interlochen, Mich.

Since coming to Iowa in 1988, Weiger has performed as a soloist throughout the United States, Canada, England, Mexico, Austria, France and Italy, presented two recitals in Carnegie Hall in New York, been a finalist in nine international competitions and won First Prize in the Queens Philharmonic Concerto Competition (NY). The first oboist to serve as an Artistic Ambassador through the U.S. Information Agency, Weiger performed recitals in Nepal, Pakistan, Israel, Jordan and Sri Lanka. He has recorded for the CRS, Crystal, Chandos and Centaur CD labels.

Mead has performed by invitation at International Clarinet Association conferences, the Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium, the Southeastern Clarinet Workshop and the conference of the College Band Directors National Association. She has been principal clarinet of several Midwestern orchestras, including the Cedar Rapids Symphony. As a chamber musician she has appeared with the Cleveland Quartet and other ensembles. She had made several recordings, including two CDs of Brazilian choros with pianist Rafael Dos Santos, a UI alumnus.

Thelander joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in 1989 and was elected director of the School of Music in 2000. Active as soloist and chamber musician, she has performed throughout the United States, Europe, Mexico, South Korea and the People's Republic of China. As a guest artist she performed a solo with the Chinese National Opera Orchestra for the opening concert of the International Horn Symposium held in Beijing in July 2000. During the summer she performs with the Britt Festival Orchestra in Jacksonville, Ore.

Benjamin Coelho has worked extensively as performer and teacher of bassoon, in both the United States and his native Brazil. He was a founding member of the Manhattan Wind Quintet, with whom he played a sold-out concert in Carnegie Recital Hall in New York. He has played with the Orquestra Sinfonica do Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro and the Grupo de Musica Contemporanea of Minas Gerais, Brazil. He taught bassoon at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte in Brazil, where he served as the elected vice-dean of the School of Music.

Huckleberry is an active solo pianist and chamber musician. He has performed both in recitals and as a soloist with orchestras in Germany, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Italy, Austria, Spain, France and the United States. He is also a prizewinner of numerous national and international piano competitions. As a chamber musician he was the featured pianist at flutist Amy Porter's 2003 summer workshop at the University of Michigan. He has been the faculty chamber music coordinator and faculty pianist for the University of Michigan's All-State program at Interlochen.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

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